Abroad will plant us: drugs are brought to Russia from Latin America

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At the end of July, the Khimki City Court of the Moscow Region sentenced to a long term of imprisonment a resident of Chuvashia, who organized the supply of drugs from Peru to Russia by mail. He tried to disguise the prohibited substances as soap, but the customs officials were able to recognize the criminal cargo. Meanwhile, the Russian market is clearly increasingly interested in foreign drug cartels. What is happening with drug trafficking from abroad and how to deal with it – in the material of “Izvestia”.

Peruvian dances with a tambourine

Alexander Grigoriev tried to smuggle about 1.5 kg of drugs across the ocean. The offender has lived in South America for a long time and decided to establish a supply channel from Peru with the help of a Muscovite accomplice.

– Implementing a criminal plan, the convict acquired drugs in Peru, which, in order to hide from customs control under the guise of natural soap, sent by international mail to the address in the Chuvash Republic agreed in advance with an accomplice, – said the press service of the Chuvashia prosecutor’s office.

The scheme looked like this: Grigoriev first ordered in Chuvashia a parcel for the passport of a Georgian citizen who died in Russia (the document was on the wanted list), the Privolzhsky customs department reported. The recipient’s address was fictitious – the attacker indicated an uninhabited house in one of the villages of Chuvashia. The criminal persuaded his fellow countryman to receive the package. In October 2019, he took the shipment at the department and was stopped by the security forces. In the package, under the guise of soap, it turned out to be the narcotic drugs dimethyltryptamine (DMT; found in the leaves of the chacruna plant) and harmine (a hallucinogen and a stimulant of the central nervous system, extracted from plants of the Zygophyllaceae and Malpighian families). Both substances are prohibited in Russia for free circulation and are extremely hazardous to human health.


Photo: REUTERS / Lunae Parracho

Chakruna leaves are used by the Indians of South America to prepare the ritual drink ayahuasca, which is consumed by shamans during ceremonies. After the arrest, Grigoriev said that he himself was a shaman and was going to conduct Peruvian rituals using the drink in Russia. Nevertheless, the court did not recognize this as a mitigating circumstance and sentenced Grigoriev to 8 years and 2 months in prison.

This is not the first time a “shaman” with a penchant for organizing drug trafficking has been detained in Russia. In February 2020, Daniel Diaz-Strukov, a citizen of Peru, Spain and Russia, was sentenced to 7 years in a maximum security penal colony and a fine of 300 thousand rubles after an attempt in March 2017 to receive a cargo of dimethyltryptamine ordered by him in Peru by mail. The contents of the package were sent as a dietary supplement “Dragon’s Blood” – 6 liters of liquid, poured into 10 bottles. The examination showed that the total mass of the liquid contains 2.078 kg of the prohibited substance.

During a search in the “healer’s” apartment, they also found flour from coca leaves, packaged in sachets. A lenient sentence (for such a crime in Russia, life imprisonment is provided) is due to the verdict of the jury, who recognized Strukov as deserving of leniency and acquitted him in the smuggling episode, leaving the preparation for sale in a significant amount.

Because of the broth of ayahuasca, serious troubles with the law periodically occur with tourists who have visited Peru and other countries of the Amazon. In 2017, several Russians were brought to criminal responsibility at once, who brought home from a trip a hallucinogenic broth “to communicate with spirits.”

Forbidden fruits from the New World

Organizers of the trafficking of drugs of plant origin due to the pandemic are looking for new channels for the supply of their products to Russia. The “creatives” of the drug market are trying to deliver the potion to the country in any way, even if not in the cheapest and safest way. The motivation is clear, as plant drug prices have skyrocketed since early spring. A total of 12 kg of marijuana were found by Sheremetyevo customs officers in parcels from the United States in July this year. While trying to get it, the operational officers of the service detained two Russians. They face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million rubles.

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For six months, the Federal Customs Service seized 203 kg of drugs and psychotropic drugs from the illegal turnover. Based on the materials of the service, 108 criminal cases were initiated on the smuggling of illegal drugs. Almost a third of prohibited goods were seized by officers of the North-West Customs Administration


Photo: RIA Novosti / Alexey Filippov

The channel for the supply of “cocaine” rum, which had been operating for several years, was stopped by police officers along with customs officers, in July a criminal case against the alleged leader of an international organized criminal group was sent to court. Cocaine, dissolved in an alcoholic drink, was brought to Russia by couriers under the guise of tourists.

“From March 2016 to August 2018, the attacker, together with his accomplices, smuggled the drug cocaine from the Dominican Republic through the EU countries, Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus to the territory of the Russian Federation for the purpose of subsequent sale.”, – said the official representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Irina Volk.

After receiving the shipment, cocaine was evaporated from alcohol and sold in the metropolitan area. Earlier, couriers were detained in Germany, Belarus and Russia. The alleged leader of the group fell into the hands of security officials in the summer of 2018 in St. Petersburg.

European way

Paradoxically, in recent years, European drug manufacturers, primarily of the so-called club and cannabinoids, have been actively promoting themselves not only in the Russian but also in the Asian market. For example, large consignments of synthetics from the EU are regularly withdrawn in Tajikistan. At the end of June, a 32-year-old resident of Dushanbe was detained with 2.2 thousand ecstasy pills. Not only Central Asia suffers, but also Southeast Asia: over the past 5 months, the Thai authorities have seized more than 100 thousand tablets, allegedly produced in the Netherlands.

– Parcels from Holland already have an appropriate reputation with customs officers around the world, they are inspected with special partiality. Drug dealers are aware of and therefore send their goods from other EU countries, taking advantage of the fact that the borders are open – Poland, France, Portugal, Slovakia, Belgium and others, – the drug control operative explained to Izvestia. According to him, the volume of drug production in the Netherlands, where this business is partially legal, is much higher than the domestic demand. This creates a problem not only for neighbors, but also for foreign countries.

Products from the Land of Tulips are regularly encountered by Russian law enforcement agencies. At the end of June, Bryansk customs officers intercepted a parcel heading to the Leningrad Region with vape atomizers and hash oil capsules.


Photo: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze

“The package immediately attracted the attention of customs officials. The packaging of components for electronic cigarettes and capsules indicated that they were produced in the Netherlands by a company that quite legally (in its own country – Izvestia) specializes in the sale of products with the addition of marijuana. Only when ordering such a product should you remember that the import of drugs into Russia is prohibited and punishable under criminal law. “, – explained the acting. Deputy Head of Customs Denis Dandykin. A drug smuggling case was initiated. As established by law enforcement officers, the cargo was sent from Poland.

In the Tver region, a process has begun over the alleged accomplices in the supply of drugs to the region from the EU. The total weight of the seized drugs exceeded 1.3 kg. The accused skillfully hid illegal drugs (amphetamine, hashish, LSD) in parcels and sent them home. They also sold goods in the region using bookmarks.

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